Aliwal Shoal Diving Facts

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50 kms (31 Miles) south of Durban lies Umkomaas, on the banks of the  Mkomazi River. (uMkhomazi means the place of the Cow Whales) due to the large  numbers of whales which once used the estuary of the river as a nursery, giving  birth in the shallows and lolling around in the warm waters.

The Aliwal Shoal is situated 5kms (3 miles) off the village of  Umkomaas.

Some divers who regularly dive Aliwal say the dive is second only to the  boat ride through the breaking surf to get to the shoal, some divers use up all  their air on the ride out - before they even enter the  water!

Depths very from 6 to 27 meters (19 to 88 ft) and offer a tapestry of  diversity. The Cathedral area of the reef is one of the more spectacular dives.  Its inhabitants include the Ragged Tooth Shark, Loggerhead Turtle and Ribbon  Tailed Rays.

For the more daring diver the reef sports a landmark of international  importance - Raggie Cave - one of three locations on the reef famed for its  shark diving; the other two being Cathedral and Shark Gully. From July to  December the Shoal is the congregation point for Ragged Tooth Sharks, where up  to 60 sharks have been encountered at ant one time.

In the history of diving the Shoal there has been no recorded incidence  of aggression or attack between the thousands of sharks and the hundreds of  divers frequenting the reef.

The Aliwal Shoal is not just a vivid pageant of marine life but it is  also the final resting-place of two unfortunate ships, which were once ripped  asunder by the upper reaches of the reef. The Produce (1974), once a 2000 ton bulk  carrier, lies on the sandy bottom at 30 meters (100 ft) and its rusted framework  has formed an established reef, home to many species of fish, including 20 tame Brindle Bass. The Nebo which sank on  its maiden voyage in 1884 lies at 25 meters (82  ft).

The Aliwal Shoal is like a magnet, inextricably drawing countless ocean species into its realm - now it extends the same invitation to  you.

Water temperatures vary from between 19º C to 25º C (66º F to 77º  F)

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